U. S. Senate Recognition

U. S. Senate Recognition

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK (Senate - July 15, 1998)


[Page: S8262]

Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, in the nineteenth century, Merriwether Lewis and William Clark explored the western reaches of our expanding country. As they explored my home region of the Pacific Northwest, Lewis and Clark cataloged the mineral and natural resources of the land. In particular, they spoke of a mighty river known to the local inhabitants as Nch'i Wana, the Great River. We know it today as the Columbia River and its importance as a reliable source of water and power to the people of the Pacific Northwest is undeniable.

When Twentieth Century American explorers embarked on a similar journey to explore the Moon, one of their earliest actions was to bend down to the surface and pick up a rock. That simple movement framed an ancient reflex that underscores the basic imperative to explore our surroundings. Today, I want to recognize the important role played by the earth sciences in expanding our economy, supporting our national goals, and increasing our knowledge of the larger world.

Modern geophysical research reveals that ours is a dynamic planet. On the Earth's surface, great tectonic plates shift continental positions with terrific force. On the ocean's surface, microscopic plants and animals help regulate global atmospheric gases and serve as the foundation of our planet's food web. In the deep ocean abyss, mysterious and wondrous animal communities thrive in endless darkness by deriving life-sustaining nutrients from active volcanic vents.

Earth science is a global science that speaks a global language and unites people by promoting sustainable development. The study of earth science provides the skills necessary for locating and utilizing natural resources, understanding natural processes that often conflict with human designs, and comprehending our natural heritage through the unusual perspective of geologic time. The unique panorama of geologic time allows us to observe the full range of natural processes on Earth and aids in developing a comprehensive view of the natural world beyond a perspective limited only to that of human influence.

In my home state of Oregon, we celebrate the land and respect the power of nature. We have learned to protect our citizens and expand our economy by working with nature and prudently mitigating natural hazards. In consideration of the importance of the earth sciences in the daily lives of all Americans, I submit, for the Record, the resolution issued by the Association of American State Geologists.

The resolution follows:

Whereas the earth sciences are fundamental to society; and

Whereas the earth sciences are integral to finding, developing, and conserving mineral, energy, and water resources needed for society; and

Whereas the earth sciences promote public safety by preparing for and mitigating natural hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, and coastal erosion; and

Whereas the earth sciences are crucial to environmental and ecological issues ranging from climate change and water and air quality to waste disposal; and

Whereas geological factors of resources, hazards, and environment are vital to land management and land use decisions at local, state, regional, national, and international levels; and

Whereas the earth sciences contribute critical information that enhances our understanding of Nature,

Therefore, be it resolved that the second full week of October henceforth be designated as Earth Science Week.